Saturday, 12 December 2015

Presenting 'Juhu Beach'!

Mention Juhu Beach, and the first reaction is, oh, there is nothing like the beaches in Goa... and the conversation ends right there. While there are thousands thronging the huge stretch of the Juhu Beach everyday, another thousand choose to stay as far away from it as possible, citing the place dirty! Well, if so many felt that it was dirty and definitely not worth going with kids, and absolutely not taking a bunch of them for a playdate... my curiosity only grew...

My daughter's school is opposite the beach, though rows of fancy houses block the view! After school, one day, both of us decided to go and check out the beach. We went to a quieter part of the beach, and Anushka's first reaction was, "who says Juhu Beach is dirty?!" I was shockingly surprised too! It was clean, not just by Indian standards, but by decent global standards.

When we visited Spain and Portugal last July the beaches on the Mediterranean and The Atlantic were definitely prettier, but they were dirty too in some parts. The beach at the centre of Barcelona was full of beer bottles, crowns and cigarette butts, and not to mention topless women everywhere! It was quite a task to make Anushka not see those women, and yet letting her have her share of fun!

A playdate was organised for my daughter and some of her school friends today. Not just the kids, but the mothers had a blast too! The 'haters' and the-only-discouraging-ones may change their minds if they read this post, but I just hope the authorities continue to do the good work of keeping Mumbai clean. Hope the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' does not become a part of history as a mere campaign!

Here are some photographs from our playdate today :)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Street Musicians Across The World

"If music be the food of love (life), play on..." - using a part of the famous lines of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare... music transcends all boundaries and brings people together.

Here's my tribute to the wonderful street musicians all over the world who perform in public squares, gardens and markets to enthrall different sets of tourists and locals everyday for a paltry reward.

1. At a local market in Bangkok here is a blind guitarist playing his music to the passerby. He has a microphone and an amplifier to be heard around!

2. An elderly couple performs almost non-stop at the Plaza Mayor, Madrid, belting out popular Spanish songs like Besame Mucho.

3. One of my favourites... Sitting on a chair at Miradouro in the Alfama region of Lisbon this old man can give many trained classical guitar professionals a run for their money... his playing was effortless and soulful!

3. An accordian player with hi-tech gadgets plays different genre of music seated under a lamp post outside the Royal Palace of Madrid.

4. At the Kapellbrücke, Lucerne, this old man played his small accordion while people walked on...

5. This performance was one of a kind... alphorn players at a square in Lucerne.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A slice of Picasso!

There is nothing I'd write that the world of art lovers don't know about Pablo Picasso. Just that I'm just lucky to have visited the museum which was his home, where he was born!

Also, the surrounding of the museum is as beautiful as the museum!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Of Beer, Tapas and Paella!

Tapas, red wine and paella are quintessentially Spanish and no tour of Spain would be complete without them. Off Plaza Mayor, on one of the busy streets of Madrid, we (Joy, Aanya and I) went to Corrientes 348 to try some tapas, beer instead of red wine and paella. We will have to pay 10% extra to sit on the terrace, we were told and was ushered towards a table on the street. We thought that we were waiting there to go the terrace, but in a few minutes we realised the street was the terrace! Well, in Europe sitting outside a restaurant on the street and paying more is common after all!

The waiter was a Romanian, and he was bemused that we had come all the way from India. We were pleasantly surprised that he had, in fact, heard of India!

We ordered for beer and were happy to find a brand of beer we knew! While we drank beer, Aanya kept saying cheers and sipping water; she doesn't drink any juice or soft drink! Tapas usually comes for free, and we also got a portion of it, not sure what was in it though. Hence, I repeatedly asked the waiter what meat was in it. He very patiently assured it was chicken! Also, ordered some chicken fries and confirmed if there was any other kind of meat mixed with it. We eat only chicken, lamb, beef and pork and some variety of fish. I had to be absolutely sure of what we were eating!

For dinner, we ordered for Chicken paella; the common paella with rabbit meat is very popular but it is a big no-no for us!

We didn't wait to click a pic as we were too excited to eat paella for the 1st time, but the 1st bite disappointed us. The much talked about paella, often compared to Indian biriyanis, didn't taste so good. In fact, the chicken had the over-frozen smell. Quite a disappointment! The pic happened after a few bites, quite evident in the pic above!

All in all, we had a fabulous evening. Walked through narrow lanes from Paseo del Prado to Plaza Mayor, strolled and sat for a while listening to nice Spanish music being played by an elderly couple at the plaza, and wrapped up eating at a Spanish reastaurant!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

On a Gaudi Trail at Barcelona!

While  in Barcelona I visited some of the buildings that were designed by Gaudi. Here they are through my lenses.

 La Pedrera

Sagrada Família

The 2 champs in front of Sagrada Familia!

Moi and my baby!

 Parc Güell

Disney-Gaudi designs!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Spanish Dream!

From Spanish football leagues to bullfighting and matadors to the flamenco dance everyone knows a little of Spain. Spain intrigued me too from my childhood, from books to songs to their rich cultural history. I learnt a little of the language too  to understand and interpret more about Spain. 

I dream of travelling all the time, in fact, I relate travel to almost everything that happens around me! I'm a piscean and a compulsive dreamer (if this means anything!). Deep in my heart I feel like beating the odds and realising these dreams too. When I read Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' many years ago, that one famous line got stuck to my memory and stayed for good, "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it".
If anyone ever asks me to quote any other line from the book, well, I have no clue! On a serious note, post reading this book I did learn to dare, think big and most of all, dream big! 

The Alchemist had mentions about the Andalusian region of Spain and while reading I had formed a vivid picture on my mind about Tarifa. Little did I know that one day I will travel to Spain with my family! Looking back, I did dream, and kept dreaming, and here we three are, already lived 'my' Spanish dreams! We did not visit Tarifa, instead we went to Malaga, another city in the Andalusian region, though the quest of Santiago was on my mind throughout the journey!

The tour spanned 11 days over Barcelona, Malaga and Madrid in Spain, and Lisbon and Cascais in Portugal. Our travel itinerary had the usual famous sight seeing places apart from a special place that excited Anushka and me the most, our day out at Parque Warner Madrid, the Warner Bros. amusement park! 

Just a few photographs of our trip!

La Rambla

Playa de La Malagueta

Paseo Del Prado

Parque Warner

Praca Martim Moniz

Cascais Beach